Volunteer Opportunities

Becoming an OMCA volunteer is easy!

Volunteering at OMCA gives you a chance to get more involved with the museum you love. We are always recruiting enthusiastic volunteers to assist with school groups, events, office work, and more.

Volunteer Info Sessions are offered several times a year. During Info Sessions, we discuss the various types of volunteer opportunities available to you, as well as next steps for getting involved! 

If you are unable to make the Info Session, we suggest creating an account on our Shiftboard volunteer site. Once you have registered and your application has been approved, you will receive email notices of upcoming volunteer opportunities.

» Sign Up to Volunteer


Questions? Email us at volunteer@museumca.org.

No phone calls, please.

If you are interested in an internship at OMCA, please email your resume and cover letter to internships@museumca.org.

Become an OMCA Ambassador today and share the museum you love, make new friends, and give back in Oakland. Photo: Terry Lorant

OMCA Ambassadors help promote OMCA's mission by providing a friendly, welcoming face to all visitors. Through training sessions, events, and new friendships, they develop a rewarding personal relationship with the Museum.

To participate, please register on our Shiftboard page.

What are the benefits of becoming an Ambassador at OMCA?

Besides feeling great about giving back, helping others, and supporting a museum you love, volunteers also get these more tangible benefits during the course of their volunteer commitment:

  • Free admission to the Museum and special exhibitions.
  • Special curator tours of new exhibitions and other informative and fun training sessions.
  • Invitation to the White Elephant Sale staff shopping days.
  • Special 10% discount in the OMCA Store; 15% discount in the Café on the day of your shift.

An OMCA Ambassador will be expected to:

  • Move throughout the Museum being welcoming, helpful, and friendly to all visitors in the Museum, including visitors of various ages and ethnicities.
  • Stay knowledgeable of current Museum exhibitions and events, and be able to connect visitors to information they are seeking.
  • Direct visitors to ticketing, galleries, OMCA Store, Museum Café, and other amenities within the Museum as needed.
  • Enjoy offering general information about OMCA, the renovation, and its collection to guests to enhance their visit.
  • Consider joining the Museum as a member so you can enhance your participation even more with a free subscription to our magazine, invitations to exhibition openings and member hours, and more.

Minimum Commitment:

Two shifts per month, for six months. Weekly shifts encouraged.


  • Ability to move around the Museum comfortably for up to three hours at a time.
  • Skilled with interacting with the public, maintaining a courteous manner at all times,
  • Attend required training session prior to volunteering, and attend follow-up training sessions as required.
  • Ability to adhere to best practices, as set forth in the Volunteer Handbook.
  • Speak fluent English; fluency in other languages a plus!
  • Access to email and a computer (All scheduling done online; computer training is available at the Oakland Public Library)
  • Maintain a neat personal appearance and adhere to the preferred dress code.

Interested? To participate, please register at Shiftboard. You will receive emails for our next training/information session.

No phone calls, please.

Become an Exhibit Guide

Experience the excitement of touring school groups with just a two to three month commitment. Meet new people with similar interests and become part of our museum family.

Exhibit Guides are trained in a specific special exhibition or part of a gallery, including Days of the Dead, Gold Rush, or California Indians. Trainings are held periodically throughout the year depending on our need for guides.

Trainings last four to six weeks. After successful completion, guides commit to touring school groups Wednesdays through Fridays, once a week, for two to three months.

Interested in knowing more?
If you would like to be added to our mailing list to be notified when new training sessions are offered, please send us your name, email and mailing address to docentcenter@museumca.org. For more information on these opportunities, please contact the Docent Center or call us at 510-318-8470.


Join OMCA's 250 Docents—volunteers in the Art, History, and Natural Sciences Galleries—who help visitors of all ages enjoy and appreciate California's natural wonders and cultural riches.

Experience the excitement that comes from a continuing education experience of field trips, lectures, and hands-on trainings. Make new friends with people who have similar interests, and become part of a great institution. Most of all, help to ignite a spark in a young person's imagination and experience the excitement of inspiring visitors to make discoveries that bring new insights about life in our great state. Art, History, and Natural Sciences Docent training is offered on a rotating basis every few years.


The Docent training program runs for approximately one year. Once you graduate from the training program, the commitment is for two shifts every month for two years. 

No experience is necessary—just enthusiasm for learning about what California offers and an eagerness to share your passion. After completing training, you will be ready to give tours in the galleries and special exhibitions, helping our visitors make exciting discoveries about California's art, history, and natural environment.

Docents and Exhibit Guides need to be able to move around the Museum comfortably for 3 hours at a time, have access to email and a computer, and have a love of sharing your enthusiasm with museum visitors.

Get more information!
For an application or for more information about joining our Docent corps, please call 510-318-8470, Fax: 510-318-8413, or e-mail docentcenter@museumca.org

OMCA is seeking volunteers to help with performances during our Friday Night No Spectators Extravaganza and Burner volunteers to help contribute in the gallery to welcome visitors to our No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibition. Please continue reading or click a button below to read more about specific volunteer opportunities. 

Jump to:
Friday nights volunteer
In gallery volunteer 
Temple volunteer 


No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Friday Night Volunteer Position Description

About the Role:
OMCA is seeking Volunteers to help with performances during our Friday Night No Spectators Extravaganza. Volunteers will be called on to assist with seating, crowd flow, creating a fire perimeter, and guiding Marching Bands through the OMCA Gardens.

Key Responsibilities:
There will be 3 key roles for volunteers during the Extravaganza

1. Marching Band/Gardens Team

  • Monitor the OMCA Gardens and assist with keeping walkways clear
  • Guiding Marching Band members to their meeting places
  • Assisting bands with warm up in the James Moore Theatre

2. Art Car Ambassadors

  • Assist Art Car drivers with crowd control near their non-moving vehicle
  • Assist visitors when climbing in and out of the Art Cars

3. Fire Safety Team Shadow

  • Shadow The Crucible Fire Safety team
  • Help explain the demonstrations to visitors
  • Create perimeters and assist with crowd control


  • Must have experience working large scale events. Burning Man event experience is a plus
  • Must be able to stand or walk for the duration of the volunteer shift (4hrs)
  • Must consent to a background check

Volunteer Time Commitment:
Required Training: 4pm-5pm Friday 11/8
Shift: 5pm-9pm Friday 11/8
Museum Location: 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Art Department
Volunteers Report to: Renée LeVesque, Associate Experience Developer

How to Apply:

  • Complete this google form. Please be prepared give us your name, email address, and phone number. Please also be prepared to answer questions about your experience as a Burner
  • If your submission is approved, we will contact you for a phone interview
  • Applicants who are approved for volunteer shifts will be asked to consent to a background check. This consent form will be sent to you via email
  • After the google form, interview, and background checks are complete, approved applicants will be invited to sign up for shifts via Shiftboard

» apply


No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man In Gallery Volunteer Position Description

Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man will make its final stop and West Coast debut at OMCA after traveling to the Cincinnati Art Museum. The exhibition will feature many works by Bay Area artists, including jewelry, costumes, “mutant” vehicles, sculptures, photography, and paintings. The companion exhibition within the gallery, City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, will trace Burning Man's origins from its countercultural roots in the San Francisco Bay Area to the world-famous desert gathering it is today.The immersive and multi-sensory experience will extend beyond the gallery walls into the Museum’s public spaces—including an OMCA-commissioned 40-foot-tall outdoor temple by internationally-acclaimed sculptor David Best.

About the Role:
OMCA is seeking Burner Volunteers to participate in welcoming visitors to our No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibition. The exhibition will be open from October 2019-February 2020 at the Oakland Museum of California. Volunteers will have the opportunity to connect with museum visitors in the gallery and the Temple, and assist visitors in creating gifts in the Gift-o-Matic interactive space.

What it is, and What it’s not:
OMCA has launched this program with the goal of welcoming Burners who feel compelled to volunteer. OMCA is in no way attempting to recreate the Burning Man on-playa experience. Burners who volunteer in the gallery will answer questions, support visitor understanding of the 10 Principles, and to help those who may have no prior knowledge of, or misconceptions about Burning Man, to connect with these artworks.

Purpose of the Volunteer Role:
No Spectators Volunteers will help connect Museum visitors to the art in the exhibit by way of the 10 Principles of Burning Man:

  1. Radical Inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. Decommodification
  4. Radical Self-reliance
  5. Radical Self-expression
  6. Communal Effort
  7. Civic Responsibility
  8. Leaving No Trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

Key Responsibilities:

  • Answer questions about the Playa environment, and what it’s like to attend Burning Man
  • Answer questions about the 10 Principles
  • Assist visitors in gift creation in the exhibition's Gift-o-Matic interactive space
  • Be a presence for visitors in the Temple


  • No Spectators Volunteers must have experience attending Burning Man as a participant or volunteer for 2 years or more
  • Must be fluent in the 10 Principles
  • Must be local to the Bay Area or visiting during the exhibition (we’re sorry but we are unable to assist with relocation for this position)
  • Must attend a gallery training session before volunteering inside the exhibition, and abide by the gallery guidelines in regards to attire (clothing please! It’s chilly in the gallery and at the Temple site), food/beverages, and interactivity (add to the art when the artist has welcomed it! Refrain from additions when the artist has asked to hold the art as it is)

Length of the Exhibition:
Volunteer shifts will be available throughout the exhibition which will be open Wednesday-Sunday from October 12, 2019 - February 16, 2020.

Volunteer Time Commitment:
Required Training: 1 training, three hours in length, at OMCA
Shift Minimum: A minimum of 4, four-hour volunteer shifts during the run of the

Available Shifts:
Fridays 5pm-9pm
Saturdays and Sundays 11am-3pm
Museum Location: 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Art Department
Volunteers Report to: Renée LeVesque, Associate Experience Developer

How to Apply:

  • Complete this google form. Please be prepared give us your name, email address, and phone number. Please also be prepared to answer questions about your experience as a Burner
  • If your submission is approved we will contact you for a phone interview
  • Applicants who are approved for volunteer shifts will be asked to consent to a background check. This consent form will be sent to you via email
  • After the google form, interview, and background checks are complete, approved applicants will be invited to sign up for shifts via Shiftboard

» apply


No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Temple Volunteer Position Description 

You’re invited to participate in building a Temple as a healing art project by David Best. In connection with No Spectators: the Art of Burning Man, David will be building a non-denominational temple at the Oakland Museum of California. Please join the volunteer crew for a day of creating, building, and sharing as we work together to build this healing space for all of Oakland to enjoy. 

This Temple, created specifically for OMCA, is dedicated to people who mourn the loss of family from violence, deportation, immigration, incarceration, suicide, or alienation. It celebrates the people who create families of choice or build new families through foster care and adoption.

Volunteer tasks:
We need volunteers who can help with: holding ladders, creating mandalas out of cut wood and adhesive, lifting wood, transferring tools from one onsite station to another, refilling water bottles, operating tools such as screw guns, nail guns, and industrial vacuums, sweeping, and organizing materials.

Build dates and times:
We will be building the temple September 25, 2019 - October 8, 2019. First shift will be 9am-12pm, second shift be 1pm-4pm. All work will take place at the Oakland Museum of California

Being prepared:
Our worksite is wheelchair accessible, and seating is available while you work. Please bring work gloves and wear closed-toes shoes. We will be working outdoors, so please wear layers and bring a water bottle if you can. Lunch will be provided, vegan options will be available.

» apply


About OMCA
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multi-disciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with the first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. The Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019 as a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California's dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.

About David Best:
David Best is an internationally acclaimed artist well known for building large elaborate temples, modifying and decorating automobiles and buses, and creating intricate sculptures out of found materials. David’s art career started at the age of 6 years old taking classes at the San Francisco Art Institute where he later received a master’s degree in sculpture. David’s work is collected by preeminent museums and art collectors. He is a contemporary of California artists William Wiley, Al Farrow and Rick Griffin, but has also collaborated with people who are merely interested in working with him on his projects.Since the beginning of this millennium, David and the Temple Crew have become revered for their work at the Burning Man Festival held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Similar works have now been replicated in communities from Nepal to Ireland, and with other international locations on the horizon. David works out of Petaluma in Sonoma County California where he resides with wife Maggie and a bevy of farm animals, trucks, and an assortment of mutant vehicles. davidbesttemples.org/david-best/

About No Spectators, The Art of Burning Man :
Each year the weeklong Burning Man event attracts over 70,000 people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Participants create and build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where experimental art installations—some ritually burned to the ground—are the centerpiece for innovators, makers, and a burgeoning artistic community. The exhibition will illuminate the values of Burning Man through its guiding Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. museumca.org/exhibit/no-spectators-art-burning-man

The Oakland Museum of California is dedicated to diversity, inclusion, accessibility and equity. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability/disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We highly encourage our diverse community to apply for available employment, internship, fellowship and volunteer positions at the Museum, as we aim to ensure our staff reflects the diversity of our visitors and surrounding community.